"By the very fact, therefore, that the faithful with sincere mind give such consent, they open up for themselves a treasure of sacramental grace from which they draw supernatural power for the fulfilling of their rights and duties faithfully, holily, perseveringly even unto death. Hence this sacrament not only increases sanctifying grace, the permanent principle of the supernatural life, in those who, as the expression is, place no obstacle (obex) in its way, but also adds particular gifts, dispositions, seeds of grace, by elevating and perfecting the natural powers. By these gifts the parties are assisted not only in understanding, but in knowing intimately, in adhering to firmly, in willing effectively, and in successfully putting into practice, those things which pertain to the marriage state, its aims and duties, giving them in fine right to the actual assistance of grace, whensoever they need it for fulfilling the duties of their state."
(Pope Pius XI, Casti Connubii, On Christian Marriage, no. 40, 1930)Marriage is a beautiful vocation marked by many joys, but also by many trials and sorrows as well. But couples are not left alone to lift the crosses God allows them to endure. Earthly parents may start their married children out in life with material help so the transition to independence is gradual and less difficult. Yet, those resources are not endless, and eventually the couple must completely fend for themselves. In contrast, Our Heavenly Father gives a married couple "a treasure of sacramental grace from which they draw supernatural power for the fulfilling of their rights and duties faithfully, holily, perseveringly even unto death." His help is inexhaustible because His Power is endless.
But we cannot tap into this rich, and bountiful source of grace if we place obstacles in its way. Sin is the impediment to the life of grace: pride, anger, sloth, lust, gluttony, envy, greed, the children of these stop us from receiving the graces necessary for our state in life. We must strive for perseverance, for by practicing this virtue we may cultivate the other virtues and sow the "seeds of grace". It is fitting that the fruit of the 5th Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary is perseverance because the True Love that Christ modeled for us on the Cross is one of utter self-negation, complete self-sacrifice. To constantly deny not only our wants but our needs takes great endurance, and great love.
But God has given couples a help to persevere in their vocation with the sacramental grace given to them on the day they freely consented to be given to one another in the marital bond. Unfortunately too many forget to ask for it in times of need. Perhaps we ask for a situation to change but do we ask for the grace to endure it, and a joyful heart throughout it? By failing to attempt to practice the necessary virtues to become holy, to become a saint, are we really failing to trust in God? Perhaps we are not trusting that His grace will be sufficient.
When Our Blessed Mother appeared to Saint Catherine Laboure in 1830, giving her the image to be imprinted upon, what would become known as, the Miraculous medal she said this:
Let us not fail to ask for these graces, to implore our dear Mother for her aid in the struggles of life. And then, let us trust and know that His grace will be sufficient.